Here’s the Stuff People Ask Me About A Lot, Better Known as the Frequently Asked Questions.
Please understand that if your question is already answered here, you will not receive a response by e-mail. I’m inundated with e-mail and, although I wish I could respond to everything, I can’t. It’s physically impossible.
If your question isn’t answered here, you’ll find my e-mail address at the bottom of the page.
- Can I hire you?
- What are your ghostwriting terms?
- Will you speak at our conference?
- Will you read my work?
- Can you recommend an agent/publisher/editor?
- Will you write a book blurb or foreword for me?
- Can I interview you?
- Can you give me advice about…?
- Can I hire you as an editor?
- Will you help me get something to Celine Dion?
- I want to be a full-time freelance writer. Can you tell me how?
- Do you own Absolute Write?
Thanks for your interest in my work. Please feel free to e-mail me (my address is at the bottom of the page).
I often work as a ghostwriter, both for celebrities and “regular people” with great stories to tell. I am normally brought in by editors or agents, but I am always willing to hear from people seeking a ghostwriter directly. I work in nonfiction only (not novels).
To sell a nonfiction book, you need a book proposal, which is a document that contains an overview of your proposed book along with information about you, the book’s intended audience, your publicity ideas, the competition for the book and how yours will be different and/or better, an annotated table of contents, and sample material. You then send that book proposal to agents or publishers (or both), and publishers make offers based on it. You don’t need a complete manuscript before you have a publishing deal.
I charge a flat fee to ghostwrite this proposal, and I’ll warn you that I’m not cheap. For the book itself, there are a number of ways to work out a fair split.
The fit between author and ghostwriter is important, too. We both have to feel like we’d enjoy working together. I need to feel that the subject matter is within my areas of interest and that the book could sell well. If we can meet all those conditions, we might just be ready to rock!
I really, really appreciate it when people want me to come speak to their writing groups, or lead a workshop, teach a seminar, etc. However, I have to say “no” if it requires plane travel. Plane travel just isn’t my thing. However! If your event is in or close to New York, there’s a good chance I can do it. Write to me or my publisher and we’ll talk.
On the other hand, most of my ghostwriting clients are really into public speaking, and some of them are zany enough to love plane travel. So let me know if you want to get in touch with one of them.
Many writers write to me to ask me to read and critique their work. I’m sorry, but I can’t do this. I could give you a hundred reasons, but the most important one is that I just don’t have the time.
I get so many requests from writers who want me to suggest appropriate markets and editors for their work, or who want me to refer them to my agents or editors. I don’t give recommendations to people I don’t know. It puts my reputation on the line, and it’s a very uncomfortable situation if an editor comes to me and says, “Boy, that writer you recommended is a real pain in the butt!”
Yes, I’m sure you’re a wonderful person and a terrific writer and you’d never cause me any trouble. Nonetheless, that’s my rule and I’m sticking to it. I’m sorry.
If you’re looking for an appropriate market for your book or article idea, I suggest you buy the latest copy of the Writer’s Market (an annual guide published by Writer’s Digest), which lists guidelines for thousands of magazine and book publishers. You can also just hop on over to your local bookstore, write down the names of publishers who publish your sort of work, and send them your stuff.
For agents, a good place to search is www.agentquery.com, along with the acknowledgments pages of books like yours.
If you want to know who I specifically do NOT recommend, visit www.writerbeware.com, a very reputable organization run by two friends of mine who work tirelessly to help steer writers away from scams and bad deals. I agree with every one of their warnings. At the top of my list of who to steer clear from is Publish America, which I consider the most deceptive vanity press I’ve ever seen.
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Maybe. Feel free to ask. If I turn you down, it probably has nothing to do with your book’s quality and everything to do with my crazy schedule. Please note that I don’t do blurbs for novels because I’m not a novelist and don’t feel qualified. I read and write nonfiction almost exclusively; the only fiction I write is for children.
You bet. See my media page.
I do my best to answer readers’ questions. Please understand that I get about 100 e-mails per day and if I tried to answer them all, I’d never get any work done. Many of the articles and the books I’ve written are meant to answer the questions I get asked most frequently. But I really do enjoy hearing from my readers and if there’s something you want me to help you with that you can’t find an answer to elsewhere, please feel free to contact me. If it’s important and you haven’t heard back from me in a week, drop me a line to remind me. I’m completely approachable, just on deadline most of the time!
I edit nonfiction only in areas of my interest (memoir, self-help, health, biography, and some how-to). You can try me if you like.
Since I began working on Celine’s book, I’ve received an awful lot of requests for help from fans and people who’d like to work with Celine. I understand and sympathize with how difficult it is to reach a celebrity like Celine; however, I really can’t help you get your demo tape/letter/gift/resume/etc. to her; I can’t ask her questions for you; I can’t give you private contact info; I can’t get you a backstage meeting, autograph, or tickets; etc. I’m just not in a position to do that and I hope you understand. You can reach her company through the official website at www.celinedion.com.
And to answer the other question about Celine– what’s she like?– a genuine sweetheart.
Everything I could possibly tell you is in my book Make a Real Living as a Freelance Writer. Please don’t send me your resume and ask me how you should get started. I already wrote a whole book about it, and there’s no way for me to condense that into an e-mail. I promise you it’s a good book.
Used to, for more than 7 years. Then I got pregnant and knew I needed to rearrange my priorities some, so I sold the site in November of 2006. I have nothing to do with managing it anymore and I am no longer a member. It was an enormous pleasure running the site for so long.
Okay, you’ve earned it. Here’s Jenna’s e-mail address:
(Not clickable to confuse spam-bots.)